Ideally, city public bus services can help traffic congestion in metros. AC public transport buses can also attract some private car owners to switch to them if the service is reliable, fast and comfortable. One bus can help keeping 30-40 cars off roads used in daily, regular commute.
AC bus service provided by BEST in Mumbai runs empty even during rush hours. This is one example of marketing failure. There is a huge demand for transport during rush hours in Mumbai, and still BEST does not get customers and loses money on the service.
The buses run frustratingly slow. It seems the drivers are trained and told to “take their time”. Also, the buses seem to have very slow pickup. Or, may be they are of inferior quality which can’t run or maneuver fast. So, taking such a bus means having a leisurely ride to somewhere where you are not in hurry to reach. Officegoers can’t rely on such a slow, unreliable service.
Another reason is timings. Many of the rides run during non-rush hours, attracting hardly 10% occupancy. It seems BEST has not studied customer needs before starting this service and its timings.
If municipal corporations want to provide some reliable alternative to private commuting, they must promise and provide reliability, punctuality and speed at peak hours.
If they fail to satisfy this basic customer need, customers will not patronize it. It is simple marketing lesson. Governments and its companies should look at marketing from customer’s point of rather than ruining their enterprises from bureaucratic point of view.